NIC outpays its peers, but trustees OK with that

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COEUR d’ALENE — Compared to their peers, North Idaho College employees are compensated fairly, trustees say.

During the NIC Board of Trustees meeting in May, Trustee Todd Banducci said college officials have reviewed salary studies and that NIC pays “more than the other three community colleges” in Idaho.

“We’re competitive,” Banducci said.

He’s comfortable with that considering the cost of living here compared to community colleges in eastern, western and southern Idaho.

“I think we’re commensurate with what’s appropriate in the current financial conditions,” Banducci said.

Banducci’s comments were part of the board’s final discussion before approving NIC’s general fund budget for fiscal year 2019. He made the comments to explain his request that the budget be approved without a proposed one-time expense of $27,500 for a salary market survey.

Banducci said he thought it unnecessary to pay for a salary survey for at least a few years. NIC President Rick McLennan said he didn’t know if the study was needed, although, he said, some salary information is not provided by the other salary research sources the college relies on.

The salary market study was pulled from the budget before approval.

NIC’s general fund operating budget approved by the board for 2019 is $48.98 million, an increase of $1,845,128 over the 2017-18 general fund. However, trustees did not take a property tax increase even though Idaho law allows them to increase the property tax funded portion of their budget by up to 3 percent over the highest amount of the previous three years.

One source of additional revenue is a 1.07 percent tuition increase for Kootenai County students and a 5 percent increase for students coming from outside the county.

For salaries, the general fund budget includes a one-step increase, an average of 2 percent, for all full-time employees, and a 3 percent increase for adjunct instructors and part-time employees. For fiscal year 2019, personnel-related costs make up 70 percent of NIC’s general fund operating budget, roughly the same as in 2017-18.

Laura Rumpler, the college’s chief communications and governmental relations officer, said NIC strives to be competitive throughout the greater economic region.

“As an employer so close to the Washington border and the metro area of Spokane with multiple higher education institutions, it’s critical for us to pay attention to the job market to attract and retain quality faculty and staff,” Rumpler said.

At times, the college has challenges in recruiting for positions in the skilled fields such as technology, nursing and other professional/technical fields.

“These professionals earn much higher salaries in their fields than they will ever earn as faculty, for example; computer scientists, diesel mechanics, HVAC technicians, and most health professions,” Rumpler said. “Retention is not a significant issue at NIC as most professionals who choose to work with students, do so for many fulfilling reasons, though we do see faculty leave to go back to industry.”

North Idaho College’s 350 highest paid employees’ compensation in 2017-18

For the complete list NIC employee salaries, visit NIC Salaries

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